California Department of Resources Recycling and Recovery (CalRecycle) 

Organic Materials Management

Erosion Control

Erosion Control Workshops

The CIWMB (now known as the Department of Resources Recycling and Recovery or CalRecycle), in partnership with the California Department of Transportation (Caltrans) headquarters' Landscape Architecture Program, held workshops throughout the state focusing on new special provisions using compost to improve roadside vegetation and reduce erosion.

CalRecycle, in partnership with local governments, held workshops throughout the state focusing on municipal adoption of Caltrans special provisions for using compost to improve vegetation establishment and reduce erosion. These workshops are similar to the CIWMB/Caltrans workshops held in 2006 and 2007.

Other Past Erosion Control Projects

CalRecycle funded several projects involving applications of mulch to various Napa and Sonoma County hillside vineyards as erosion control. Using mulch in other grower settings such as lemon orchards in Ventura County has shown promising results to date in both erosion control and weed suppression. In addition, the CIWMB completed a project with Caltrans that used various mulch, compost, and co-compost materials as erosion control materials for re-vegetation of roadsides that could potentially erode.

Vineyard Erosion Control
In March 1999, CalRecycle awarded contracts to two partnerships in the Napa/Sonoma area to demonstrate the effectiveness of mulch on hillside erosion control in vineyards. Both groups spread mulch made from yard trimmings on hillside vineyards in the winter of 2000 and monitored erosion after each major storm event until May 2001.

Orchard Erosion Control
Erosion control professionals evaluated municipal mulch and various types of compost under field situations as surface amendment material for erosion control and re-vegetation of disturbed or degraded soils. A municipal mulch demonstration conducted by University of California (U.C.) Cooperative Extension, Ventura County indicates soil erosion, soil compaction and snail activity are significantly reduced with the use of yard trimmings in commercial citrus orchards. The mulch applied at least 3 inches deep in the orchard rows also provides weed suppression, soil moisture conservation, water infiltration, soil fertility, improved soil structure, and moderation of soil temperatures.

Roadside Erosion Control
A Caltrans/U.C. Davis literature review and research study found that various types of compost made from municipal yard trimmings and other organic materials are excellent amendment materials for roadside erosion control. The study documented that composts vary considerably in physical and chemical characteristics. More research is needed to explore the great potential that exists in establishing plant growth on harsh erosion sites with compost containing slow-release forms of nutrients. Plant available moisture and nitrogen are often the major limiting factors to plant establishment on disturbed soils. The mulch effects and organic substrates contained in compost are expected to regenerate some of the functions of natural soil organic matter including decreased evaporation from the soil surface, increased microbial activity for soil aggregate formation, improved slow-release nutrient availability, and improved nutrient and water holding capacity.

Erosion Control Publications


External Links

Organics Home

Last updated: June 14, 2012
Organic Materials Management